When you consider marketing your business, you usually think of building a presence on social media, blogging, speaking, networking and attending conferences…
But what about letting your customers do some of the marketing for you?
The three most common types of “customer marketing”: are: word-of-mouth, testimonials and case studies.
1) Word-of-mouth: A happy client’s enthusiasm is contagious. But it’s an in-the-moment thing – fleeting. The prospective client has to be in the presence of that happy customer to feel it.
2) Testimonials (written or video) provide a longer lasting snapshot of what it’s like to work with you. They also offer potential clients a concrete resource they can review at any time.
But neither of these options goes into detail. They don’t describe the state the customer was in when they came to you, what you did to help, or the new and better place they are in now.
Neither of these options gives the full picture – one the reader will engage with and remember.
3) Case studies: The most powerful form of customer marketing — because they tell a story.
In a case study, your happy client shares the story of their journey from frustration or challenge, through a specific experience with you, and out the other side to a transformed life or business.
Stirring Emotion, Imagination and Curiosity:
Potential clients read the case study and ‘imagine themselves into the story,’ complete with you and the successful outcome.
A well-written case study makes prospective clients curious to learn more about what you did for that other client — and what you could do for them.
It makes them curious to meet you. And that meeting could turn them into a new client.
An Investment That Keeps On Giving:
You can re-use the content of your case studies in talks, webinars, workshops, flyers and brochures, at trade shows and networking events, and in your PR efforts and press releases.
You could extract a key lesson from the case study and create a blog post about it. You could even create a video featuring your case study clients. The opportunities are endless!
How To Create a Powerful Case Study:
1) Review your client success stories: Think of your best client experiences. Think of where those clients were when they started working with you, what you specifically did for them and the results they got.
2) Think quality, not quantity: Be selective. If you only have one or two standout stories, that’s fine. It’s better to tell two superb stories than four mediocre ones. (Remember, you’ll be creating more content out of those stories as you go along).
3) Interview the client and tell the story: Don’t do this yourself even if you’re a good writer. You are too close to the subject matter to be objective and you don’t want your client to feel uncomfortable.
Invest in an experienced writer who is also a great interviewer and storyteller, and one who can re-purpose content too.
A compelling case study is a magnet for new business but a powerful story poorly told is a waste you can’t afford.
(Photo Credit: A Tale from the Decameron by John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Have you used case studies to get new clients?
Share your experience with other business owners in a comment below.
If you need help creating case studies for your business or you just want to chat, let’s book a time here
c 2014 Kathy Barthel